Great Britain

Trump knows all he needs for evangelical votes is to crack down on women's rights | Arwa Mahdawi

Sign up for the Week in Patriarchy, a newsletter​ on feminism and sexism sent every Saturday.

Trump woos evangelicals at anti-abortion rally

Donald Trump gave up some of his precious “executive time” on Friday to speak at the annual March for Life in Washington. His presence there was a big deal: he’s the first sitting president in history to attend the anti-abortion event, which was founded in 1974 in response to Roe v Wade legalizing abortion across America. Ronald Reagan and George W Bush both delivered speeches remotely but didn’t get so far as actually showing up in person.

While we all know Trump finds it hard to pass an opportunity to hear the sound of his own voice, his unprecedented appearance at the anti-abortion rally could be construed as a sign of desperation. Trump got 81% of the white Christian evangelical vote in the 2016 election; if he loses this base he’ll have a hard time getting re-elected.

Trump hasn’t lost favour with the family values crowd yet, but there are some small signs that his popularity among evangelicals may be growing more fragile. Last month influential evangelical magazine Christianity Today called for Trump’s removal from office following impeachment. The editor-in-chief, Mark Galli, wrote: “The impeachment hearings have illuminated the president’s moral deficiencies for all to see.” Trump is well aware, of course, that evangelicals don’t seem to give a damn about moral deficiencies – just as long as he cracks down on women’s reproductive rights they’ll continue to support him. So that’s exactly what he’s doing.

When it comes to abortion, Trump may not practice what he preaches

Apropos of Trump’s Friday field trip it’s worth noting that he was once asked if, during his bachelor days, he was “ever involved with anyone who had an abortion?” His reply? “Such an interesting question. So what’s your next question?”

Alex Azar, a morally bankrupt hypocrite, renames HHS the ‘Department of Life’

The health and human services (HHS) secretary, Alex Azar, an Orthodox Christian, is thrilled that Trump is making an appearance at the March for Life. On Thursday Azar released a statement describing the HHS as “the Department of Life” and saying he was proud “to serve as part of the most pro-life administration in this country’s history”. The hypocrisy of this is staggering considering the HHS is responsible for keeping migrant children in inhumane cages. Meanwhile Azar himself has spent much of his career fighting affordable healthcare. These people don’t care about kids or life, they just care about controlling women. A more apt name would be the department for Wealth and Handmaid Services.

It’s the three-year anniversary of Trump reinstating the Global Gag Rule

The rule (officially known as the Mexico City policy) bans US federal funding for international NGOs that provide abortion services or advocacy and has had a disastrous effect on healthcare for women in Africa and south Asia. As Victor Rasugu, executive director and country team leader at Network for Adolescent and Youth of Africa (NAYA) in Kenya, told the Guardian: “This anti-health, anti-abortion and anti-woman policy has caused a ripple effect in Kenya. Clinics have shut their doors. Healthcare workers have lost their jobs. And people – especially women and young people – are losing access to critical medical care.”

Goldman Sachs won’t take non-diverse companies public

The investment bank has said it won’t help companies go public unless they have one “diverse” board candidate, “with a focus on women”. Speaking from Davos, CEO David Solomon noted that US companies with at least one female director have performed “significantly better” in their public offerings than those without. It’s a great move although the fact that being a woman is considered “diverse” is kinda wild – we’re half the world’s population.

TikTok testicle taste-test trend (sorry that was a bit of a mouthful)

I regret to inform you that men are dipping their balls in soy sauce to see if their testicles have taste-buds. A 2013 science finding that mice can taste with their testicles recently made the rounds on TikTok and inspired this “challenge”. Seems like a good time to remind everyone of the Twitter account @justsaysinmice which calls out shoddily reported stories that rely on studies of mice to make overstated claims. To be very clear: you can’t taste things with your genitals.

No sex please, unless you’re married heterosexuals

The Church of England reckons that only married straight people should be allowed to have sex. Good to know.

Utah woman charged with being topless in her own home

It’s fine for Trump to grab women’s genitals without their consent but Tilli Buchanan may end up in jail because she took her top off at home.

There’s a pay gap between male and female influencers

Male influencers on Instagram earn around 7% more than female peers. New media, same old problems.

Greece has its first female president

Katerina Sakellaropoulou, 63, is a high court judge and human rights advocate. At this rate America is going to be the last place on Earth to get a female president.

Tinder is adding a ‘panic’ button

It’s great that dating apps have started to think a little more carefully about user safety. Now if only they would stop selling your data.

Ohio bans conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ kids

It is the 19th American state, and one of the most conservative, to enact a ban on the discredited and barbaric practice.

Kate Sowers is first female and openly gay coach in Super Bowl history

I could care less about American football but it is super cool that Sowers, who is the San Francisco 49ers offensive assistant, is making sporting history.

The week in pyjama-archy

A Chinese city has apologised for shaming its residents for wearing pyjamas in public. Government officials in Suzhou posted pictures of people wearing nightwear online, along with the offenders’ name, ID number and other personal information. It’s yet another reminder that we’re sleepwalking into a surveillance nightmare.